Sunday, July 18, 2010

Boma dining.......African food

Our introduction to dining in an outdoor room called a boma happened at Vumbura Plains in Botswana.  A circular space within walls of tightly bundled reeds or wood stakes, with a central blazing fire, the boma is a traditional African natural space originally used as a stockade or livestock enclosure giving protection from the elements.  At Vumbura, following dinner, we were entertained by the staff with dancing and songs of love, praise and thanks.

The cereal choice at breakfast - Rattray's on MalaMala

Every meal in the countries of Botswana, Zambia and South Africa (didn't stay or dine in Zimbabwe - just crossed into the country to view Victoria Falls) was a delicious experience.  Freshly picked, cooked, baked, served...........beautiful not only to the taste buds, but to look at also.  I seriously doubt a can was opened or a frozen box defrosted to add to any meal, and certainly no microwave ovens were lurking in the kitchens. So, diets (as in "let's lose weight") were thrown to the wind without any caution whatsoever.  I devoured everything in wild abandon (except meat which I don't ever eat), in sensible portions as there were so many interesting items to try, and at dinner drank a glass, sometimes two, of excellent South African wine....................and came home five pounds lighter!  This tells me the American diet needs serious attention!

'Our' four chairs in the bar!

Alan, Rattray's extremely attentive bartender, always addressed us as 'Madam' and served us each evening with an aperitif and freshly baked delicious appetizers at the bar.

The bar and lounge area - a very elegant and comfy colonial style gathering place prior to dinner. Of interest was it being home to several small bats who sleep behind the large framed wildlife photos during the day!  First evening I was surprised when they flew out into the bar and through the open French windows on their evening hunt for food.  As you probably know, bats will always return to the same place unless screened they just allow them to share the delights of such a nice place, feast on any mosquitoes, and hopefully they've never bitten anyone while enjoying an evening drink!

Gordon, a charming South African from Durban, was the perfect ranger/guide/host and took care of we four sometimes wild and chatty Brits!  Each evening at the bar he would read the dinner menu to us and take orders for our drinks. We all fell in love with Gordon and wanted to be his grandma! He's 24, single, very smart, and has a great sense of humor - a necessity when driving we four around for 6 days straight!  Paula invited him to California next Summer so hopefully we'll meet up again......or perhaps in Africa again some day!!

Edited Sunday:
Just received a super e-mail from Gordon above - he enjoyed us - "his adoptive grandmas" - so much he will come to visit us in the USA next year.  What a delight that will be! Now, if we can just find him a lovely girlfriend to share his next adventure!

My yummy vegetable crepe at Toka Leya camp in Zambia.

Lunch at Toka Leya with Babs and Jen's amazing salad!

Boma dining (Paula lower left)at MalaMala, SA - chairs with blankets and hot water bottles for the evening chill.  Staff singing beautiful African songs at the end of the meal.
The boma at Rattray's on MalaMala was inviting and the food fantastic.
My choice one night -
Freshly Baked Garlic Bread (amazingly good and served nightly)
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart
Selection of Vegetables
Creme Caramel
South African Rose wine

I found no fault whatsoever with the food served in these delightful camps - another reason I would love to return.
Bon Appetit!!


  1. Mary
    That's a wonderful tribute to their food.. and losing 5 lbs while there too.
    Your posts are truly 'drool' worthy.. and not just the food.
    No wonder you want to go back.
    And I'm doing our research!

  2. No wonder you lost 5 pounds! All that good food which is so healthy, and that salad Jen got looked like it weighed 5 pounds! Such an amazing trip!
    Hope you have a great Sunday!!
    Take Care,

  3. It's wonderful to read a first-hand account of travel to Africa. I've always wished to go, but one reads the paper and worries about safety. It looks as though there were no concerns at all on your trip - just beautiful experiences, good food and kind people. I'll have to show these posts to The Great Dane.

  4. You have so many great adventures to share. I love reading each one. Maybe before too long we can get together. I have at least another week in the boot before the pin comes out!

  5. You know, after visiting Greece and Italy for ten days last year and eating and drinking whatever I wished, I also came home several pounds lighter. I do agree that the American diet has to be the problem. I think that all of the additives in our food are not good for us. I have tried very hard to eat fresh as much as possible. Carla

  6. Dear Mary,
    I have taken a large chunk of this Sunday to read your Safari posts and look at the many wonderful photos! I am overwhelmed right now ... and I thank you from the bottom of my heart ... for sharing all of this. In a way, I feel as though I was on safari too! You have written so beautifully of your adventures ~ I can't imagine anyone not wanting to visit given an opportunity. Welcome home! I am so glad this was a positive life experience for you.

  7. Mary, thanks for sharing these delightfully delicious photos! I can't get enough of your Africian adventures. ~ Sarah

  8. I always come home from an over seas adventure in better shape then when I left. The food sounds amazing. Gordon is definitely a cutie and worth adopting.

  9. How cool , all that wonderful food and to loose 5 pounds is amazing. Wonderful photos!


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